Telecoms software company OpenCloud has this month launched its Visual Service Architect (VSA) graphical development environment for JAIN SLEE (Service Logic Execution Environment). Designed for building apps for both fixed and mobile networks, this new tool is used in conjunction with OpenCloud's Rhino Telecom Application Server and Charging Sentinel.
VSA provides telecoms application developers with graphical visualizations of core application elements. Those elements can then be modified to extend and maintain existing services, or to build entirely new applications with automated code production.
The framework itself provides operators with more freedom to develop new concepts in-house and deploy or modify services rapidly, at what is claimed to be a much lower cost. The concept is to provide operators with greater independence, choice, and opportunity for innovation. It is a free, open, and standards-based tool that can be used alongside other OpenCloud or third-party developer tools.
According to OpenCloud, "Developing applications for telecoms has traditionally required specialist skills and while JAIN SLEE is an excellent technology for real-time execution of applications written in the widely adopted Java language, there has previously been a lack of tools to simplify development."
VSA is therefore positioned as a route for developers to easily visualize an entire application represented as a collection of on-screen elements — graphical "building blocks" — that automatically generate trustworthy code for a large proportion of the intended application.
Additionally, VSA supports application templates that provide a pre-designed starting point to accelerate the creation of new applications. In much the same way as web application developers switch between graphical and code based environments, VSA users are free to switch from the graphical environment to a direct coding interface when required.
"Telecoms operators have often been criticized for being slow to innovate. Up until now applications development has been a drawn-out and costly process, which was reliant on a core set of specialists who understood the complexities of telecoms protocols and asynchronous systems," said David Ferry, CTO of OpenCloud.
"Visual Service Architect reduces the level of expertise required. By replicating that expert knowledge and providing an intuitive graphical interface, which simplifies the design and implementation of telecoms applications, we have opened the door to the wider development community."
Ferry added, "Ultimately, as part of an open standards solution, it enables both operators and developers to innovate quickly, and independently, to meet demand for flexible and innovative applications that produce a tangible return — new revenue, margin opportunity, and competitive advantage."